Showing posts from 2019

Unprecedented Allowance Rates at the USPTO?

According to the USPTO, the current allowance rates are around 76% and have been above 70% since May 2017:

Historically, allowance rates are just below 70%, occasionally spiking up above 70% for a quarter or two.

Are we in unprecedented territory for the USPTO and the U.S. patent system?

Note that, between the Alice decision in 2014 and Dec. 31, 2018, only 36% of patents granted by the USPTO had valid claims after being challenged under Section 101 at the District Courts. The high invalidity rate has been relatively constant during that time.

How high will it go? An update on the allowance rate for applications relating to artificial intelligence at the USPTO

It has been about a year since my last post on allowance rates for applications relating to artificial intelligence at the USPTO, and it seemed like a good time for an update.

In short, the allowance rate is still around 90% for applications relating to artificial intelligence, but, notably, the allowance rate in 2019 actually surpassed 90% for this technology. This may be partially due to the updated guidelines distributed by the USPTO at the beginning of the year, which "aim to improve the clarity, consistency, and predictability of actions across the USPTO." Actions are sent out by examiners to prevent the office from granting patent rights over technologies that were already publicly accessible (described exactly or as an obvious variant) at the time of filing. The USPTO could attain perfect clarity, consistency, and predictability of actions with a 100% allowance rate, but at what cost to the public?


In the study, to find what I consider "artificial inte…

What is patent quality?

I'd like to explore patent quality more formally rather than just posting numbers to a blog. More importantly, I'd love to hear your feedback, and, in particular, any way I can improve my understanding of patent quality. If you have a lot of feedback or interest, please stop by the Technology Patent Network conference tomorrow in San Francisco, where I'll be talking about patent quality from 4:15 to 4:45.
Patent quality has received a bit of attention recently as patent systems around the world continue to self-evaluate with respect to others, as the case law continues to clarify that not all patents are created equal, and as patent tool vendors successfully push value-added insights. Still, there seems to be quite a bit of disagreement on the subject.
In 2017, former Chief Judge Paul Michel stated: "I think at the end of the day, patents are either valid or invalid as a legal instrument and therefore it's not very helpful to talk about quality or 'good' o…